What Was Atlas Famous For?


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Atlas was a great Greek God. He was a Titan or giant and he was reputedly so strong that he could lift the world. In the early days of Grece, the Titans fought against the Olympians and lost. So, the gods punished Atlas by forcing him to support the world on his shoulders forever.
Atlas bore this burden for many years until Hercules sought his help. Hercules wanted to reach golden apples from a tree which was guarded by a dragon. Atlas agreed to get the apples, if Hercules held the world whilst he was gone.
Atlas was obviously relieved to be emancipated from his burden and after securing the apples told Hercules he would take the apples to the king. Hercules pretended to agree but asked Atlas to hold the world for a minute whilst he padded his shoulders for support. Atlas agreed but Hercules, after placing the world on Atlas, then walked off, leaving Atlas to his fate.
It is from this tale that we talk about 'having the weight of the world on his shoulders'.

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